Hundreds attend fracking meetings

Anti-fracking campaigners are stepping up their action and are calling on the people of Driffield and the Wolds to help keep the Driffield countryside frack free.

Meetings held in Driffield and Wetwang last week saw hundreds of people attend to find out more about fracking and the impact it has on local communities.

Now action groups are be-ing set up with the aim of getting more people involved and making the Driffield community aware of plans for this area.Interest in this subject is grow-ing after a licence was granted to energy firm Cuadrilla Resources to explore for shale gas on land to the west of Driffield, which takes in the villages of Wetwang, Garton-on-the-Wolds, Tibthorpe, Bainton, North Dalton and Southburn.

Fracking is shorthand for hydraulic fracturing. It is the process of drilling down into the earth be-fore a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pres-sure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. However campaigners against the controversial practice fear for the impact this could have on the lives of people from Driffield and the Wolds.

Iris Gaughan, who organised the public meetings last week, said Driffield cannot turn its back against what she believes is a highly destructive industry.

She told Driffield & Wolds Weekly: “I have lived in Driffield for 15 years and I love this area and the more I find out about the impact of fracking, the more I realise we cannot ignore this threat to our beautiful countryside and to our quality of life.

“One of my biggest concerns is the threat to our water supply. It is our one precious resource and we cannot risk contamination to this.

”We cannot accept the large scale industrialisation to our countryside which this industry would bring; it would impact our farmers and tourism to this area.“I also have many worries about the health implications coming from evidence from America from pollution of air and water.

“I was delighted to see so many people attend the information evenings. It shows how much interest there is and I have had people thanking me for bring-ing this to their attention.

“But what we need now is more support and help to plan action to stop this ever happening here in Driffield.”

Iris has organised a follow up meeting on Thursday evening (19th November) at the Driffield Community Centre at 7.30pm for those who are interested in actively helping to progress the campaign.Driffield resident Joanna Walton, who attended the information evening at Cass Hall last week, will be lending her support and help.

She said: “The negative impacts and risks associated with fracking are not worth going through. By drilling deep into the earth’s crust we are messing with things we just do not understand.

“Evidence of health problems experienced by communities in America are very worrying – children having regular nose bleeds, headaches and lethargy.“We need the people of Driffield to come together and say no to fracking. Fracking is not the solution to energy shortages; it will not fill the gaps. We cannot allow this to happen.

”Fracking allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas. The industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs.

In a statement Cuadrilla Resources said extensive consultation with the local community would take place before any activity to explore for shale gas commenced.

“Over the next year Cuadrilla’s activity within the new Yorkshire licence areas will largely centre on desktop studies and undertaking survey work to identify potential sites. Our planning applications in Yorkshire would be for temporary shale gas explora-tion sites, for which we would undertake extensive pre-application consultation with the local commu-nity to share our plans and address any concerns.

”In response to some of the specific concerns raised by Driffield residents, the company added: “To date there is no evidence to suggest that there will be any health implications for local residents. Furthermore Cuadrilla will monitor ambient air qual-ity concentrations.

“Any wells drilled, will incorporate multiple barriers between the groundwater and deep underlying production zones to ensure no leakage of fluid or gas from the well into the surrounding environment.

“There are many sites such as our site in Elswick in Lancashire, which was fracked in 1993, which is in a rural area and created no negative impact on the environment.“As with all development or infrastructure type projects, activity will create noise, however proximity to nearby residential properties will be taken into account during the selection of any sites and Cuadrilla is committed to complying with National Planning Policy Guidelines in relation to noise levels.

“Fracking doesn’t change the geology of the earth. Some people sometimes ask about subsidence in this regard. Shale Gas exploration works are highly unlikely to cause ground subsidence. Unlike coal mining, shale gas production does not remove large quantities of rock from underground which can cause subsidence. Horizontal wells are expected to measure just 6 inches in diameter and fractures equivalent to a grain of sand.

”The company has a freephone information line for Yorkshire on 0800 130 3884 or email enquiries@cuadrillaresources.com

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